John Fulkerson, MD, is an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine. He focuses on treating patella (kneecap) instability, which occurs when the kneecap moves out of its proper place. It is common among athletes and active people.
“Patella instability patients benefit tremendously from the type of surgery we can do for them,” Dr. Fulkerson says. “They go from being really disabled to returning to playing sports. It’s very satisfying to help restore their lives.”
The patella and the femur form the patellofemoral joint, which has complex contours and mechanics, he says. “So 3-D printing, which we are developing a program for at Yale, enables us to gain a much better understanding of it. Everything we look at in two-dimensional imaging is really just an approximation and doesn’t get close to the level of understanding we have with 3-D printing,” Dr. Fulkerson says.
Treating patella instability, he adds, is an area where a precise diagnosis and surgery warrant a focused approach. “Patients can feel confident that when they come to Yale, they will be seeing a team that has a lot of experience, and they will get the results they are looking for,” he says.